April 13, 2009

by shiori kadowaki; wakako kurimoto


We interviewed Mr. Tomita, the owner of the origami Oridur Salon Yume.

Everything started on January 2nd, in 1987.

A dream which Mr. Tomita had on January 2nd, his first dream of the year, prompted him to make an origami “crane flock.” When he awoke he was so excited, and then he found a book on crane flocks. “I thought that I had to familiarize myself with these wonderful works,” Mr. Tomita says. At that time, Mr. Tomita was running a dress shop, but because of a depression, the cases which should have been filled with dresses were empty. “I thought ‘Why don’t I decorate these empty cases with cranes?’ However, I couldn’t make them, because I wasn’t clever enough with my fingers, but all day along, my mind was filled with cranes. Cranes, cranes, and cranes… Then finally I made all 49 patterns of cranes. It took me five months. At first, they were easy to make, but then they became more and more complicated. However, I continued making, because I was happy to see my customers’ happy faces. They were pleased with our work.” After that, Mr. Tomita’s activity appeared in the paper and he was also introduced on TV. Then he became famous and many people become his fans. Twelve years later, after he has his dream of a crane, he opened “Oriduru Salon Yume.” “Yume” means “dream.” Coincidentally, the Chinese zodiac animal of the year he had the dream and the year he opened his salon were the same: “cow.”

Cranes snuggle to us.

“I couldn’t have continued such a long time just with just ordinary origami: Cranes got me to continue this long,” Mr. Tomita also says that no one says anything bad about cranes. “Cranes have been treasured since very old times. It is said that if we had a dream of a crane, we can be happy.” Actually, paper cranes are treasured in our daily life. For example, we can see them in a situation of congratulations. Paper cranes are used as good luck charms. They are symbols of happiness, peace, longevity and so on. We make a string of 1000 paper cranes and give it to a patient so that he/she can get well soon. We make a string of 1000 paper cranes with our wishes of world peace. Most Japanese children make cranes as their first work of origami. Paper cranes are familiar to us.
“I can be innocent while I’m making cranes. I can make cranes at my own pace. Cranes comfort us.” Mr. Tomita not only makes cranes, but also turtles. Both of them are symbols of longevity in Japan. “When I was running a dress shop, my customers said to me, ‘Mr. Tomita, you have to make turtles, because you have already made cranes,’ so, I began making turtles. After that, customers said to me, ‘Now, Mr. Tomita, you have to make rabbits next.’ I wanted to say, ‘you have to be joking!’ .

His greatest work

Mr. Tomita’s greatest work surprises us. He makes 368 cranes from a single piece of paper! He says he can make it in two weeks. He makes it while standing, not sitting and says that he doesn’t make it for self-satisfaction.
“After having made 50 thousand cranes, I understood the crane heart. Having made 300 thousand cranes, I understood how kind cranes are. Now, upon making 500 thousand, I will reconfirm a state of wonder and the wonderful power of cranes.” Mr. Tomita told us about cranes eagerly.

Through cranes, I wish…

These days, the world isn’t peaceful. We always hear dark and scary news. Therefore, Mr. Tomita says, “I wish to spread the wonder of crane flocks to as many as people I can. People who try to make crane flocks can be inexperienced. Don’t try to make it well, just try to make each one with your heart.”

How to make crane flocks

First, all pieces of paper in Mr. Tomita’s shop have a stamp which says “yume” (dream) in their corners. They have been stamped by Mr. Tomita. Before we make cranes, we write our wishes or dreams on a piece of paper. What do you wish for?
Now, let’s begin. You can choose your favorite crane flock from eight types, then you choose your favorite “washi“(Japanese paper). Each variety is so beautiful. The fewest numbers of crane in a crane flock is two, and the largest crane flock has five cranes. The larger the crane flock is, the more difficult it is to fold. Each piece of paper has slashes and a few joints, so when making cranes you will not tear the joints. it seems difficult, but it isn’t actually. “Washi” is strong, and tape is applied on the joints, so you will rarely tear the paper.
You can see a red circle on the corner of each piece of paper. It is a mark for a crane’s head. You have to make a crane so that the part with the red circle ends up as the crane’s head. Now, start your work.

The important things when we make crane flocks are…
“Use your brain, not your ears.” Mr.Tomita says. When we make crane flocks, we don’t need ears, which means too much listening gets in the way of making. We can find our own ways through making a number of cranes. “Make your cranes with a lot of heart. There are many types of people. Some don’t make cranes well, but their finished works are good. Other people make cranes well, but they don’t complete them well. Be calm at all times.”

We visited this Kyo-Renduru Salon and made crane flocks. Sometimes, we felt it was difficult, but Mr. Tomita instructed us kindly. We could eat lunch and have a break there and above all, the Salon was really comfortable.If you are interested in, you should visit. Your trip in Kyoto will be a better one. Enjoy Kyo-Renduru.


Oriduru Salon Yume

For more information:
Kosumo St Kawaramachi #106
Nanajou Kawaramachi Hokusei-Kado

10 minutes on foot from JR Kyoto Station
8 minutes on foot from Subway Kyoto Station
5 minutes on foot from Keihan Shichijo Station
20 minutes on foot from Hankyu Shijo-Kawaramachi Station

☆You to need make a reservation
Open   from 11:00am to 5:00pm
You can visit at any time and stay as long you like.
Capacity: twelve people at most
Closed every Sunday
Fees: two thousand yen for two crane flocks
Required time: from sixty to ninety minutes

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